Climate Change In Natural Environment

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The unprecedented changes observed in natural environment during 20th century is the outcome of rapid industrialization and population growth occurred worldwide (Beniston, 2003).The over exploitation of natural resources (e.g. forest, water and land etc.) in recent past, attributed to environmental degradation, which in long-term disturbed global climate system and resulted into climate change. Climate change refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity (IPCC, 2007). This describes changes in the variability or mean state of the atmosphere over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years. The threat of human induced climate change presents a difficult challenge to…show more content…
According to Meybeck et al. (2001) mountain-based resources indirectly provide sustenance for over half of the world’s population. The study of Viviroli et al. (2011) reveals that 23 % of mountain area worldwide is essential components of downstream water supply, while another 30 % have supportive role. Mountain snowpack and snowmelt which are key predictors of summer stream flow constitute the primary source of water for large population (Stewart 2009). Mountains have also significant influence over regional and global climate. For example, the meteorological and hydrological conditions of Indian Sub-continent are greatly influenced by the mighty Himalaya, which along with El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) affects upper atmospheric circulation and patterns of precipitation (Revadekar and Kulkarni, 2008). Mountains represent unique areas for the detection of climatic change and the assessment of climate-related impacts (Grabherr et al., 1994; Beniston, 2003; Singh et al., 2010). These areas are considered as the hot spots regions of the world as climate changes rapidly with height over relatively short horizontal distances, so does vegetation and hydrology (Whiteman, 2000). However, global climate change and its effect are not uniform for all areas but differ with elevation (IPCC,…show more content…
Approximately, 17% area of the IHR is under permanent snow cover and glaciers, and about 30-40% under seasonal snow cover. The IHR serves as water reservoirs for the country by feeding the rivers, originating from the Himalaya. Himachal Pradesh with highly variable topography having elevation range of 350 to 7000 m is divided into five distinct physiographic units from south to north: (1) Alluvial Plains (the southernmost zone developed at the foothills of Siwalik Range), (2) Sub-Himalayan zone, (3) Lesser Himalayan zone, (4) Central/Great Himalayan zone, and (5) Trans-Himalayan zone. The significant variations in the altitudes and aspects have resulted in variety of climate causing different types of flora and fauna in the state. The climate varies from hot and moist tropical climate in lower valleys to cool temperate climate at about 2000 m, and tends towards polar as the altitude increases beyond 2000 m. Therefore, decline in the patterns of precipitation and temperature is noticed from west to the east, and south to the north. The average rainfall in Himachal Pradesh is 1,111 mm, varying from 450 mm in Lahaul and Spiti to over 3,400 mm in Dharamsala. Winter precipitation occurs as snow at elevations above 1800 m. The natural vegetation types in this region vary from Sub-tropical

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